TfL has launched a second consultation about the planned route for Crossrail 2 which could see the two locations most closely associated with it losing their stations.
What was often called the Chelsea-Hackney line in early planning faces the possibility of not having stations in either Chelsea or Hackney.
When TfL released the first consultation last year, it offered a choice between a DLR-style local service, or a full-scale Crossrail sized service, and unsurprisingly, the majority of comments said they wanted the big one.
That consultation also offered up some suggestions, which are now being put out for a second review, which if nothing else, does remind us that consultations are worth responding to.
Probably the smallest of the changes being proposed is that where one branch of the line currently ends at Alexandra Palace, that would be extended one more stop along the existing mainline railway to New Southgate. That is essentially a freebie, and also makes it easier to use some existing railway land for a train depot and sidings.
Hackney is where it gets a bit more complicated
The line had planned to split at Angel with one spur heading towards Alexandra Palace via Dalston Junction — and the other spur heading towards Tottenham Hale via Hackney Central.
The new plans would save a not inconsiderable billion quid would see the split take place further north, closer to Seven Sisters, and from there carry on exactly as originally planned.
However, it means just one line from Angel, not two — and hence, either Dalston Junction or Hackney Central can have a station. Not both.
The upside is that whichever station is chosen would get double the number of trains per hour as they wouldn’t be split between two stations.
Each has their own advantages — Hackney is probably better for improving a lack of local transport links, whereas Dalston offers a valuable interchange with the East London Line.
(Restoring a lost railway curve could theoretically let the East London Line run to Hackney Central though providing a compromise)
At the other end of the line, there are possible changes at Chelsea
While most of the views being considered to discuss the location of the Chelsea station, the consultation having identified a possible alternative location further west than originally planned.
Rather than being on King’s Road, the new station might be located closer to the new developments at Lots Road instead.
However, there’s also some support for not building a station in Chelsea at all, and bypassing the loop it creates to run direct between Clapham Junction and Victoria.
That saves another billion quid off the cost — so the Chelsea station fans are now faced with explaining how their station adds at least £1 billion of value to the economy.
Realistically, the momentum to have a station at Chelsea is already too strong, but there is certainly the theoretical chance that it might not appear.
Which could leave the Chelsea-Hackney line in the rather curious situation of not having stations at either location. Then again, being locked into a historical expectation of what will be built shouldn’t lock TfL into spending £2 billion just to keep the Chelsea-Hackney line sounding accurate.
It’s Crossrail 2 now — and if £2 billion can be shaved off the cost, it has to be looked at. Seriously.
You can express your own views on the matter via the TfL consultation page.